Here are my hastily typed notes from Paul Roeland’s keynote that kicked off day two of the Plone Symposium East 2012. You can find his slides online. Emphasis is placed on points that sparked special reaction from me. Maybe that is because they support my already established worldview, or in some cases because they challenged me to re-examine my established worldview. They will be subjects for further reflections at another time.
To create a better world, we will need all the tools we can.
World didn’t end in 80s – nuclear fear – DIY culture born out of this.
Radio – pirate radio in the netherlands. Used to protest.
Modem – the bookpress of our age. Bulletin Board culture. Didn’t have to wait for someone to tell you news, you could contact people in other parts of the world directly. Internet is doing the same right now.
Internet arrived late in europe because they wanted to regulate it. A group of hackers set up the first ISP in netherlands. “We are not going to wait for anyone to say it is right, we are just going to do it”
They built their own noise meters and hooked up them to home to measure noise, when the goverment said the meters would be too expensive and the infrastructure to connect them would be too expensive.
Time is the new currency. People value facebook and instagram because they are based on mindshare. trying to make a formula to convert mindshare to money. Noprofits, for profits, ad agencies, they all are interested in mindshare.
Of course money still counts, but tech is an equalizer. Net and Mobile are DISRUPTIVE. NGO funding is directly related to attention. You can get around the “he who has the most money wins” problem.
we’re just having converstation – That’s all we do with technology and politcs. Same as cavemen around a fire.
kobotoolbox – create a form that also can include photos and gps coordinates. Save it on entry level android device. even if no coverage, it can store on device then be collected when returned to headquarters. Needs to be used for anthropological research. no one will suspect you for just having a form, too. Having piles of paper bring attention.
Not all open source software is centered in the western world anymore. Map Kibera project. Kibera is an area of Nairobi. They started creating job posting, and news. Made local online media source. Connect to SMS, send sms news to 100,000 people at once. People can send messages back for on-the-street reports as well. Ushahidi is name of mapping software. People can report voting rights abuses on election day and observers find this info right away.
Keep lines and tool open – it is essential. Walled gardens is an opportunity for censorship and a single point of failure.
Make tech personal and communal. Organize many mouths and many eyes. Avoid tunnel view. If you only follow best practices, you will never find a better practice.
Don’t create things that are just correct from a technical perspective, but from a literary perspective as well. Don’t stay in your safe tech hideout.
facts are not sufficient. Just because you are right, you will not get any attention, and we are in an attention economy. Story has to not just be right, it has to be good. It has to be beautiful. “The best way to get value from data is to give it away” (Neelie Smit-Kroes), but presentation is not optional!
Don’t design by committee. Every tweet shouldn’t have to be signed by three people, and be checked to confirm to policy, then conversation will move on without you.
open-washing: example: IATI standard is great. EITI standard – funded by BP, shell, exxon mobil, etc. Wrong way to go about transparency. Lot’s of open-washing. Like green-washing.
Tech is strategic, not an expense. Discussions are n-way conversations. Discussions are not people on top tell you what is right. practice what you preach.
for techies – don’t built a website – build an oeuvre. Think instruments, not tools. Delivering to specs is delivering the next legacyware. Not including mobiles? You’re elitists. You are excluding 4/5 of the population that will never own a computer other than the one they are holding right now.
Open source, data, and channels – we need all three.